Yield:30 to 36 truffles (5 to 7 gifts in parchment)
1 of 33 servings
These one-bite treats are extra rich and satisfying, thanks to the surprising addition of dried apricots and prunes. For little kids: Let them roll and decorate the truffles. For big kids: Let them measure, scoop, decorate and package them. To wrap them up: Roll 5 to 6 truffles in parchment, and twist the ends closed.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet, and bake until brown and toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely, then very finely chop.
Put the chocolate, vanilla, orange zest and salt in a large bowl; set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until very hot and steaming; pour over the chocolate, then let sit for 10 minutes. Stir until all the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. (If all the chocolate has not melted, microwave the mixture in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until smooth.) Add the pecans, apricots and prunes, and stir to combine.
Transfer the chocolate-fruit mixture to a large baking dish, and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the mixture has hardened but is still soft enough to scoop, about 3 hours. (The mixture can be made up to 2 days in advance; let soften at room temperature until scoopable, about 30 minutes.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment. Scoop heaping teaspoonfuls of truffle mixture, and place them on the prepared sheet. Once all the mixture has been divided up, roll the mounds into smooth, round balls. (Using food-safe gloves for this helps keep it from getting too messy.) Roll each ball into sanding sugar right before serving or wrapping. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
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